A couple of decades have passed since I experienced my (and everyone’s) worst travel experience. On vacation with no luggage.
Flashback. Six months earlier, we planned a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the beautiful island of Bermuda. To say I was excited at the prospect is an understatement!
So excited, in fact, I packed my entire wardrobe. Shorts, tops, pants, shoes (at least 8 pair), sweaters, sweatshirts (You never know how cool the nights will be!), every pair of underwear I owned because, well, you know, hats for sun protection, sun screen for skin protection, books because you never know how boring a gorgeous island, turquoise water, and beautiful beaches will be.
Long-story-short, I packed everything I owned except the proverbial kitchen sink. (Couldn’t get it out)
Oh, and did I mention I packed everything in one giant, humongous suitcase? This was, obviously, before airplanes implemented weight restrictions.
Finally, the day arrived. We met our friends in Atlanta and then boarded our flight to paradise. I wore the spiffiest casual pink dress with an equally spiffy hat. (Look like a tourist much?) The flight was a fun few hours during which I tried to forget we were flying over the ocean with no logical place to ditch. As I recall, we had seats in first class, thanks to our friend’s billions of frequent flyer miles, had champagne and an actual meal! Go figure.
The excitement built as we began our landing into the Bermuda airport. Last minute advice was discussed on getting a taxi that would drop the guys off at the nearest moped rental, and then take the ladies to the hotel . Apparently, the crowds are quite large and, understandably anxious, to start their vacations as quickly as possible.
After clearing customs, we raced to get taxis. The crowd was immense! Finally, we got one, loaded our many suitcases, and we were off! The driver dropped the guys off to get our main transportation for the next ten days, and we continued on to the hotel, or so we thought.
We two girls sat in the back seat gawking at the picturesque sights, and laughing about how lucky we were to be experiencing such a great trip. After about a half hour, however, we became concerned we hadn’t made it to our destination, then downright panicky as we passed the airport, again!
I believe our words to the driver were, “Where the Hell are we going?” or something like that. He pulled over and then realized he had picked up the wrong address and was taking us to the opposite side of the island. Keep in mind, this was before cell phones, so we had no way of letting the guys know what had happened.
Long story short, we finally made it to the right hotel. The guys were waiting with panicked looks on their faces. After all, it was an hour-and-a half since they last saw our smiling faces.
Panic led to anger when my husband immediately started yelling at the driver. “Where have you been?” After the driver explained about the mix-up, hubs said, “Well, we’re not paying you to drive all over the island!” The driver calmly stated, “Of course not. It was my fault. You’ll only pay from the airport directly here.” Lesson learned: Don’t get pissed until you have a good reason.
So, we were there at the Pretty Penny; a quaint collection of individual cottages. Life was good! Or, so I thought. The driver helped us unload our huge collection of suitcases. We chattered about what we should do first. Go to the beach? Explore the island on our mopeds? I knew the first thing I wanted to do was get out of my travel clothes. Get on a pair of shorts and top and start the Va-ca!
Now, to find my suitcase…
The one that held all my earthly possessions…
No where to be found.
After much rational, calm (Yeah, right!) discussion, it was determined it was left on the taxi loading station at the airport. Well, so much for that. The lifetime for an unattended suitcase in the States was about 20 seconds, if that. My heart sank. My friend, generously, offered to share her clothes with me.
Meanwhile we called the airport on the off chance some kind, generous soul had seen it and turned it in. No one had, they explained. It was still on the loading dock. “We’re keeping an eye on it, sir,” said an airport security official. “Figured someone would call or come back for it. It’ll be waiting for you.”
Sure enough, it was there. My suitcase, sitting there all by itself. To say I was relieved was, again, an understatement. I went from total despair that my once-in-a-lifetime trip would be ruined, to wondering why the heck I’d packed so much stuff!
In hindsight, I’m grateful it didn’t happen a couple of decades later. Can you imagine what would happen to an abandoned suitcase today? Lifetime would’ve really been about 20 seconds before it was blown to smithereens.
Got a vacation horror story? Comment and I may use it in an upcoming post!
Oh, and don’t forget to buy my latest fictional vacation horror story on Amazon, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder!